The Terminology

Proper conservation requires that conservators thoroughly understand the objects they are dealing with. To the degree possible, they should know when, where, how and by whom an object was made, the materials and techniques used in its manufacture, and the events of its history manifest in its condition. This is the context that allows careful decisions to be made about how best to conserve the varieties of cultural, artistic and historical information it contains.

Creation of this Terminology was motivated by the following needs:

- Conservators of Islamic manuscripts, especially those starting out in the field, lack a basic terminology with which to describe the objects they are charged with preserving. This limits not only what they can document about an object, but also what they see when examining it and, consequently, impacts their conservation treatments.

- Within a single language, the use of terminology is sometimes neither consistent nor accurate.

- Conservators and scholars working in different languages have to be able to communicate clearly and accurately with each other, and the terminology in one language and the meanings implied by certain words can differ between languages.

- The Islamic manuscript tradition is situated in a multi-lingual context that can be better exploited. Aspects of manuscripts have been noticed, named and defined in one language that are unknown in another.

To address these needs, the authors - two conservators of Islamic manuscripts, working primarily in English - set out to establish this terminology.

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The terminology is compiled by Paul Hepworth and Karin Scheper. They are responsible for the selection of terms and their subsequent definitions, the decisions regarding its structure, and lastly, they have provided the images and drawings to illustrate the terms. Femke Prinsen built the web-structure.